In memory of the
I’m sitting in my gaming room on the first floor in my parents’ house. The door is shut, the windows spread darkness and it’s quiet, very quiet. I’m staring at my old big beige Dell pc screen with a cheap headset on my head, listening to the words being spoken. Words based on happiness, but spoken in sadness. It’s the best day of my professional esports career, but it’s also the worst. It’s the 27th of October 2008, a day that will always be remembered.
Let me take you back to the 14th of July 2007, the day my parents decided to change my life. It’s a beautiful day and I’m sitting inside with my parents staring at several pieces of paper. We’re in the living room and I’m very energetic but I try to remain calm, I don’t want to show it too much. I want my parents to focus on the mail we got today. My parents slowly go through the pages and read everything carefully. They must’ve been thinking what the hell is happening, their son becoming a contracted professional gamer? How in the world? They agree on signing the contract and mention a very important rule: ‘’Koen, school goes first and your results should remain the same. If the results go down you’re not allowed to play until your results are back to normal again.’’ And so it began, the start of my professional esports career with ‘Begrip Gaming’.
It unexpectedly became one of the most successful years in my career. We won every online tournament and dominated the Trackmania scene. We had great communication and a crazy amount of fun playing and talking with one another. It wasn’t just a team anymore, we all became very close friends. However, we had one remaining goal that year: win the most prestigious online team tournament in Trackmania. With more than 250 teams participating, including the world’s best teams, it surely wasn’t an easy task.
Stadium Team Championship
EMERGENCE OF KOENZZ
It’s 7:30 pm on the 20th of October 2008 and I’m making myself ready to play the semi-final of the Stadium Team Championship at 8:30 pm against a team that many of us know very well. Some of the Begrip Gaming members, including myself, were once part of this legendary opponent. The team I’m facing in an hour is ’new World order’ (nWo), the team that gave me my first taste of playing on a high level. We manage to beat them 2-0 in a best-of-3, though it was much closer than the score implies. With mixed feelings after the win we qualified for the grand final.
I’m playing the grand final at 8:30 pm on the 27th of October 2008, a Monday that felt like any other when I got up. I focus on my studies throughout the day and when I finish my homework in the afternoon I check in on my teammates. While talking to my teammates we come up with a fun idea for the finals: ‘’let’s use a special carskin and put ’Zz’ in our name’’. My in-game name changed from simply being ‘Koen’, as I always like people to call me by name, to ‘KoenZz’.
The whole team was present at 7:30 pm with Zz’s all over the place. The fun we have while warming up is quickly changing to a serious atmosphere once the clock hits 8:30 pm. The final of the one remaining tournament we want to win so bad is starting. Everyone’s coping with nerves as there’s much on the line and we’re playing against a very good opponent. The Norwegian team ’BadBoys’ equals the score to 6-6 in a first-to-7 match on the first track. Soon after they manage to surprise many people, including us, by winning the first map… Damn. I have to play the second map, as well as my teammates PeZz, jrmZz and Karjen. If ‘BadBoys’ wins this map we lose the final meaning the stakes were high. The first few rounds were bad from our side making it a 1-2 score for ‘BadBoys’. But then we start winning round after round which results in a 7-2 win… YES! This meant we were going to the third and final map.
We quickly find out that ‘BadBoys’ aren’t as trained on the third track as they were on the first two. This gives us a big advantage which is clearly visible, we were up 6-0 in no-time. This means that the Norwegian team have to win 7 rounds in a row to win the finals, something that is nearly impossible on this level. They manage to win 2 rounds in a row, putting some pressure on my teammates driving this final track. However, the opponents aren’t able to win a third round in a row. My teammates win the third map with a 7-2 score, making us the winners of the Stadium Team Championship!
Origin of the Z
In memory of
We win the one remaining tournament we wanted to win this year, everyone is grateful and happy. Though, winning this final unexpectedly resulted in sadness as well. Some teammates mention they achieved everything they wanted to achieve and want to focus on other aspects of life. Words were based on happiness, but spoken in sadness. Happy to win the tournament, sad friends were leaving the team. With the remaining team members we transfer to a new organisation to try and prove ourselves once again in the years to come. Even though it isn’t easy and it isn’t the same as it used to be.
In memory of the players in this team and the successful year we had, I kept one of the two ‘Zz’ in my name. The ‘z’ also makes me remember how important a good coach can be and what you can achieve with teamwork. This is exactly what I aim for when educating, coaching, consulting and hosting. Please contact me for more information.